NOTHING screams tropical summer display more than an ornamental banana – and there are so many varieties to choose from !!! Not all are available all times of the year and some only in summer here in NYC.  Some of Plant Specialist’s favorites are listed below.

Dazzling purple inflorescence brightens any garden ! Thank you

Ornamental bananas differ from the edible kind in that they are mainly used for decorative purposes.  Although the genus of all bananas is Musa –  the species or both edible and ornamental differ immensely. The subgroup Ensette is also an ornamental banana.


Most varieties are fast growing; all have soft, thick stalks (called pseudostems) and spread by suckers to form clumps. Striking long, typically broad leaves are easily tattered by strong winds, so choose protected planting sites. Can be grown in containers and overwintered indoors.

Many of the ornamentals may produce fruit – but are mostly inedible due to the many large seeds

Musa Acuminata ‘zebrina’

Also known as blood bananas – a variety of the wild species native to Sumatra in Indonesia.  Most varieties have green leaves with maroon stripes.  Fruit is usually inedible.  Several cultivars available.

Zebrinas are easy to grow in containers ! Thank you

Musa acuminata “siam beauty’

Thank you!

Musa Ornata

This variety is called the bronze banana – difficult to find ! But beautiful !                                                                                        Thank you

Musa ornata lavender banana.Pink to lavender and sometimes purple flowering varieties! Thank you Ebay !

Musa X Paradisiaca Ae

Also known as he Royal variegated banana. Thank you

Ensete Maurelii

Red Abyssinian banana with spectacular bronze leaves. Thank you

Musa Velutina

If you like pink – this is for you ! Upright pink bracts; orange flowers; and small,           velvety pink bananas that are seedy and inedible but highly decorative                                                                                          Thank you Achate Vente Palmiers !

DID YOU KNOW !      During Victorian times, tropical plants were all the rage. Lavish outdoor displays were created during the summer and then these plants were moved into “glass  houses” to be overwintered for use in next season’s garden.

Ask your Plant Specialists gardener to put these beauties in your garden next season – but plan early as they have to be stolen from monkeys when they are not watching  !!!!!

Written by our resident horticulturalist Peter Morris BSc. MSc. MBA